Politics of fashion: 7 looks by Melania Trump on her debut foreign trip as FLOTUS

 US First Lady Melania Trump arrives in Duomo's square in the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, May 26, 2017.
US First Lady Melania Trump arrives in Duomo's square in the Sicilian town of Catania, Italy, May 26, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

As United States President Donald Trump embarked on his debut foreign trip, all eyes were on how he would perform and conduct himself.

The spotlight, however, was also on his wife Melania, 47, who was also making her own overseas debut as First Lady of the United States.

Here are seven looks from her outings.

In Italy & Greece

1. $71,000 Dolce & Gabbana coat in fashionable Italy

Mrs Trump stepped out in Sicily, Italy, on Friday (May 26), in one of her favourite brands - Dolce & Gabbana.

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She wore a US$51,500 (S$71,000) Dolce & Gabbana 3D flora jacket over an embossed cream dress. The floral-applique-covered coat is no longer available on the fashion house's site.

It was a slight step away from her otherwise tame outfits that she had worn in the Middle East earlier in the week.

2. A sparkly bishop-sleeved dress for a concert

Later on Friday, Mrs Trump turned up at the Greek Theatre of Taormina in a dazzling silver dress reportedly custom-made by Dolce & Gabbana, for a concert with her husband, who was attending the G7 summit.

The high-necked gown was cinched in at her waist, and featured bishop sleeves, which hark back to the 60s.

She wore her hair loose in waves and accessorised with spangled US$945 D&G heels.

3. A hotly talked about black lace dress, complete with head covering, to visit the Pope


US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump during a private audience at the Vatican. PHOTO: AFP

Mrs Trump, who is Catholic, met the Pope on Wednesday (May 24), in a meeting that was closely scrutinised.

She wore a calf-length Dolce & Gabbana dress, with a severe collar and a lace veil.

She was immediately criticised for wearing a veil to the Vatican but going without one during her visit to Saudi Arabia.

However, media pointed out that Mrs Trump is Catholic, and that Michelle Obama did not wear head coverings while visiting Saudi Arabia, either.

After her meeting with Pope Francis, Mrs Trump shared a photo of the encounter and said in a tweet: "Today's visit with His Holiness Pope Francis @Pontifex is one I'll never forget. I was humbled by the honour. Blessings to all."

In Israel

4. All-white outfit for Israel leg of her trip


U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mrs Trump touched down at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv, on Monday (May 22) in a pristine white outfit.

She wore the wide-lapelled Michael Kors Collection suit with a white belt with minute gold finishings to visit the Western Wall, too.

White is commonly interpreted to symbolise purity - and she later changed into another white dress for her visit to the Holocaust Museum.

She was criticised for this dress, however, as it was sleeveless and social media users said it was disrespectful.

In Saudi Arabia

5. A regal black jumpsuit with gold accessories in Saudi Arabia


President Donald Trump listening to Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud as  First Lady Melania Trump looks on, during a meeting at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017.  PHOTO: AFP

Ms Trump wore a long-sleeved black Stella McCartney jumpsuit with a wide gold Saint Laurent belt and gold neckline detailing upon arriving in Saudi Arabia last Saturday (May 20). On her feet were Christian Louboutin's signature red-soled pumps.

She and her husband were welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman with a tea ceremony after they arrived on Air Force One at King Khalid Airport International in Riyadh.

The jumpsuit bears resemblance to an abaya - a robe-like dress worn by women in some Islamic countries - but the Washington Post opined that it could be "a combination of passive approval and transactional acceptance of clothing as a form of imprisonment".

6. A magenta caped gown for a reception and dinner at Al Murabba Palace


President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are welcomed by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Later on Saturday, Mrs Trump donned a full-length caped magenta town for a reception and dinner at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh.

The striking colour was a stark contrast in photos, where mostly men dominated in white traditional outfits - her husband wore a suit with a blue striped tie.

American media pointed out that Mrs Trump and Ivanka Trump were the only two women invited to the opulent palace tour.

Although social media was rife with talk of how she did not wear a customary headscarf, some Saudi Arabian press gave her rave reviews for her style.

7. A khaki-hued shirt dress for a school visit


First Lady Melania Trump shares a laugh with a child during a visit to the American International School in the Saudi capital Riyadh on May 21, 2017.  PHOTO: AFP

On Sunday (May 21), Mrs Trump took it down a notch and wore a military-themed khaki shirt dress for a visit to the American International School in Riyadh, the Saudi capital.

She was pictured laughing with children there, and appeared more at ease, although her outfit stood out once more in group pictures - the other women were dressed conservatively, covered up in black or dark blue.

SOURCES: CNN, Washington Post